Gracile Austrolapithecus 
     Evolutionary Psychology

              A new approach towards the study of the human
               mind and behaviour
Homo Egasar/Erectus
Table of  Contents

To find out more about Evolutionary Psychology (EP)

Just click the images below

1. Just what is

Ape to human princess

2. The Mind
The  modular
    human mind
Blank slate

3. Adaptation.
The mind is
   an adaptive
African hut

4. The mind.
A "savannah
The savannah mind

5. EP?
   Some beg to

Adolf Hitler

6. Links and

The Ascent of Humanity



The human mind:  A  savannah mind.

  It is during the Pleistocene epoch that modern humans finally evolved from their hominid and primate forebears (200,000 years BP). An often used moniker for the modern human mind is the “stone age” mind. This conjures images of “caveman” hunter & gathers battling the ice-age elements and avoiding dangerous predators. However it is believed that modern humans had their genesis within the more benign savannah environments of East Africa (Evans & Zarate, p. 45) and then moved out of Africa as early as 100,000 years BP. (Howe, 2003, p. 63).

Homo Habilis

The 1.5 – 1.6 million year period of time humans spent in Africa was “a period of extraordinary constancy and continuity”

(Kanazawa, 2004, p.514)

 The 1.5 – 1.6 million year period time humans spent in Africa was “a period of extraordinary constancy and continuity” (Kanazawa, 2004, p.514). This meant that the range of adaptive problems faced by humans both caused by the physical and social environment also remained constant over the period and as a result evolutionary processes (through natural selection) had sufficient time to “design” modules that were specifically adapted towards human life within an East African savannah environment. This is technically described as the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness ie. the environment to which modern humans appear to have been adapted to (Hagen, 2004); in other words 
the environment to which a species has adapted 'itself' to.

  So rather than a “stone-age mind”, it might more accurate to describe the modern human mind as fundamentally being a “savannah mind”

Predator-detection module: An example of a module adapted to life on East African savannah. 

Leopard stalking gazelle
Gazelle unaware of leopard
Leopard with prey

  Early humans were at great risk from predators. As a result humans have developed a predator-detection module which rapidly alerts us to any dangerous predator and initiates the well-known fight/flight or freeze reactions - which help  protect us from danger.

  However  these fear mechanisms also use up valuable resources. So in order to conserve these resources, a second module determines whether to continue the fear mechanisms. The module assesses this by 'using' its internal algorithm (and drawing from its knowledge database) to calculate whether the original 'scare' was actually a threat. If the 'scare' turns out to be a false alarm, then the second-module will override the first predator-detection module and close down the fear mechanisms (Evans & Zarate, pp.54-55).

Continued  1, 23456.

Go to pages:
1, 2, 3, 56.

On  the web

Interesting links  around the web on Evolutionary Psychology (EP). 

Just click the images below:

Steve Pinker's homepage. Plenty of EP material.
Prof Steve Pinker

The EP Primer .  A detailed outline of EP principles - prepared by Leda Cosmides & John Tooby.

Leda Cosmides & John Tooby

HBES homepage. Human Behaviour  & Evolution Society.
Human Behaviour & Evolution Society homepage